The Pirbright Institute publication directory contains details of selected publications written by our researchers.

There were a total of 1710 results for your search.
Piekarski A, Nagarajan G, Ishola P, Flees J, Greene E S, Kuenzel W J, Ohkubo T, Maier H, Bottje W G, Cline M A, Dridi S (2018)

AMP-activated protein kinase mediates the effect of leptin on avian autophagy in a tissue-specific manner

Frontiers in Physiology 9,


Autophagy, a highly conserved intracellular self-digestion process, plays an integral role in maintaining cellular homeostasis. Although emerging evidence indicate that the endocrine system regulates autophagy in mammals, there is still a scarcity of information on autophagy in avian (non-mammalian) species. Here, we show that intracerebroventricular administration of leptin reduces feed intake, modulates the expression of feeding-related hypothalamic neuropeptides, activates leptin receptor and signal transducer and activator of transcription (Ob-Rb/STAT) pathway, and significantly increases the expression of autophagy-related proteins (Atg3, Atg5, Atg7, beclin1, and LC3B) in chicken hypothalamus, liver, and muscle. Similarly, leptin treatment activates Ob-Rb/STAT pathway and increased the expression of autophagy-related markers in chicken hypothalamic organotypic cultures, muscle (QM7) and hepatocyte (Sim-CEL) cell cultures as well as in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO-K1) cells-overexpressing chicken Ob-Rb and STAT3. To define the downstream mediator(s) of leptin's effects on autophagy, we determined the role of the master energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Leptin treatment significantly increased the phosphorylated levels of AMPKα1/2 at Thr172 site in chicken hypothalamus and liver, but not in muscle. Likewise, AMPKα1/2 was activated by leptin in chicken hypothalamic organotypic culture and Sim-CEL, but not in QM7 cells. Blocking AMPK activity by compound C reverses the autophagy-inducing effect of leptin. Together, these findings indicate that AMPK mediates the effect of leptin on chicken autophagy in a tissue-specific manner.

Mousnier A, Bell A S, Swieboda D P, Morales-Sanfrutos J, Pérez-Dorado I, Brannigan J A, Newman J, Ritzefeld M, Hutton J A, Guedán A, Asfor A S, Robinson S W, Hopkins-Navratilova I, Wilkinson A J, Johnston S L, Leatherbarrow R J, Tuthill T J, Solari R, Tate E W (2018)

Fragment-derived inhibitors of human N-myristoyltransferase block capsid assembly and replication of the common cold virus

Nature Chemistry early view,


Rhinoviruses (RVs) are the pathogens most often responsible for the common cold, and are a frequent cause of exacerbations in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis. Here we report the discovery of IMP-1088, a picomolar dual inhibitor of the human N-myristoyltransferases NMT1 and NMT2, and use it to demonstrate that pharmacological inhibition of host-cell N-myristoylation rapidly and completely prevents rhinoviral replication without inducing cytotoxicity. The identification of cooperative binding between weak-binding fragments led to rapid inhibitor optimization through fragment reconstruction, structure-guided fragment linking and conformational control over linker geometry. We show that inhibition of the co-translational myristoylation of a specific virus-encoded protein (VP0) by IMP-1088 potently blocks a key step in viral capsid assembly, to deliver a low nanomolar antiviral activity against multiple RV strains, poliovirus and foot and-mouth disease virus, and protection of cells against virus-induced killing, highlighting the potential of host myristoylation as a drug target in picornaviral infections.

King A M Q, Lefkowitz E J, Mushegian A R, Adams M J, Dutilh B E, Gorbalenya A E, Harrach B, Harrison R L, Junglen S, Knowles N J, Kropinski A M, Krupovic M, Kuhn J H, Nibert M L, Rubino L, Sabanadzovic S, Sanfacon H, Siddell S G, Simmonds P, Varsani A, Zerbini F M, Davison A J (2018)

Changes to taxonomy and the International Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature ratified by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (2018)

Archives of Virology early view,


This article lists the changes to virus taxonomy approved and ratified by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses in February 2018. A total of 451 species, 69 genera, 11 subfamilies, 9 families and one new order were added to the taxonomy. The current totals at each taxonomic level now stand at 9 orders, 131 families, 46 subfamilies, 803 genera and 4853 species. A change was made to the International Code of Virus Classification and Nomenclature to allow the use of the names of people in taxon names under appropriate circumstances. An updated Master Species List incorporating the approved changes was released in March 2018 (

Holzer B, Morgan S B, Matsuoka Y, Edmans M, Salguero F J, Everett H, Brookes S M, Porter E, MacLoughlin R, Charleston B, Subbarao K, Townsend A, Tchilian E (2018)

Comparison of heterosubtypic protection in ferrets and pigs induced by a single cycle influenza vaccine

Journal of Immunology early view,


Influenza is a major health threat, and a broadly protective influenza vaccine would be a significant advance. Signal Minus FLU (S-FLU) is a candidate broadly protective influenza vaccine that is limited to a single cycle of replication, which induces a strong cross-reactive T cell response but a minimal Ab response to hemagglutinin after intranasal or aerosol administration. We tested whether an H3N2 S-FLU can protect pigs and ferrets from heterosubtypic H1N1 influenza challenge. Aerosol administration of S-FLU to pigs induced lung tissue-resident memory T cells and reduced lung pathology but not the viral load. In contrast, in ferrets, S-FLU reduced viral replication and aerosol transmission. Our data show that S-FLU has different protective efficacy in pigs and ferrets, and that in the absence of Ab, lung T cell immunity can reduce disease severity without reducing challenge viral replication.

Chen L, Fakiola M, Staines K, Butter C, Kaufman J (2018)

Functional alleles of chicken BG genes, members of the butyrophilin gene family, in peripheral T cells

Frontiers in Immunology 9, 930


γδ T cells recognize a wide variety of ligands in mammals, among them members of the butyrophilin (BTN) family. Nothing is known about γδ T cell ligands in chickens, despite there being many such cells in blood and lymphoid tissues, as well as in mucosal surfaces. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) of chickens was discovered because of polymorphic BG genes, part of the BTN family. All but two BG genes are located in the BG region, oriented head-to-tail so that unequal crossing-over has led to copy number variation (CNV) as well as hybrid (chimeric) genes, making it difficult to identify true alleles. One approach is to examine BG genes expressed in particular cell types, which likely have the same functions in different BG haplotypes and thus can be considered "functional alleles." We cloned nearly full-length BG transcripts from peripheral T cells of four haplotypes (B2, B15, B19, and B21), and compared them to the BG genes of the B12 haplotype that previously were studied in detail. A dominant BG gene was found in each haplotype, but with significant levels of subdominant transcripts in three haplotypes (B2, B15, and B19). For three haplotypes (B15, B19, and B21), most sequences are closely-related to BG8, BG9, and BG12 from the B12 haplotype. We found that variation in the extracellular immunoglobulin-variable-like (Ig-V) domain is mostly localized to the membrane distal loops but without evidence for selection. However, variation in the cytoplasmic tail composed of many amino acid heptad repeats does appear to be selected (although not obviously localized), consistent with an intriguing clustering of charged and polar residues in an apparent α-helical coiled-coil. By contrast, the dominantly-expressed BG gene in the B2 haplotype is identical to BG13 from the B12 haplotype, and most of the subdominant sequences are from the BG5-BG7-BG11 clade. Moreover, alternative splicing leading to intron read-through results in dramatically truncated cytoplasmic tails, particularly for the dominantly-expressed BG gene of the B2 haplotype. The approach of examining "functional alleles" has yielded interesting data for closely-related genes, but also thrown up unexpected findings for at least one haplotype.

Santhakumar D, Rohaim M A M S, Hussein H A, Hawes P, Ferreira H L, Behboudi S, Iqbal M, Nair V, Arns C W, Munir M (2018)

Chicken interferon-induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 5 antagonizes replication of RNA viruses

Scientific Reports 8 (1), 6794


The intracellular actions of interferon (IFN)-regulated proteins, including IFN-induced proteins with tetratricopeptide repeats (IFITs), attribute a major component of the protective antiviral host defense. Here we applied genomics approaches to annotate the chicken IFIT locus and currently identified a single IFIT (chIFIT5) gene. The profound transcriptional level of this effector of innate immunity was mapped within its unique cis-acting elements. This highly virus- and IFN-responsive chIFIT5 protein interacted with negative sense viral RNA structures that carried a triphosphate group on its 5' terminus (ppp-RNA). This interaction reduced the replication of RNA viruses in lentivirus-mediated IFIT5-stable chicken fibroblasts whereas CRISPR/Cas9-edited chIFIT5 gene knockout fibroblasts supported the replication of RNA viruses. Finally, we generated mosaic transgenic chicken embryos stably expressing chIFIT5 protein or knocked-down for endogenous chIFIT5 gene. Replication kinetics of RNA viruses in these transgenic chicken embryos demonstrated the antiviral potential of chIFIT5 in ovo. Taken together, these findings propose that IFIT5 specifically antagonize RNA viruses by sequestering viral nucleic acids in chickens, which are unique in innate immune sensing and responses to viruses of both poultry and human health significance.

Schwartz J C, Hemmink J D, Graham S P, Tchilian E, Charleston B, Hammer S E, Ho C S, Hammond J A (2018)

The MHC homozygous inbred Babraham pig as a resource for veterinary and translational medicine

HLA early view,
Publisher’s version:


The Babraham pig is a highly inbred breed first developed in the United Kingdom approximately 50 years ago. Previous reports indicate a very high degree of homozygosity across the genome, including the MHC region, but confirmation of homozygosity at the specific MHC loci was lacking. Using both direct sequencing and PCR-based sequence-specific typing, we confirm that Babraham pigs are essentially homozygous at their MHC loci and formalize their MHC haplotype as Hp-55.6. This enhances the utility of the Babraham pig as a useful biomedical model for studies in which controlling for genetic variation is important.

Ferretti L, Di Nardo A, Singer B, Lasecka-Dykes L, Logan G, Wright C F, Pe?rez-Marti?n E, King D P, Tuthill T J, Ribeca P (2018)

Within-host recombination in the foot-and-mouth disease virus genome

Viruses 10 (5), 221


Recombination is one of the determinants of genetic diversity in the foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). FMDV sequences have a mosaic structure caused by extensive intra- and inter-serotype recombination, with the exception of the capsid-encoding region. While these genome-wide patterns of broad-scale recombination are well studied, not much is known about the patterns of recombination that may exist within infected hosts. In addition, detection of recombination among viruses evolving at the within-host level is challenging due to the similarity of the sequences and the limitations in differentiating recombination from point mutations. Here, we present the first analysis of recombination events between closely related FMDV sequences occurring within buffalo hosts. The detection of these events was made possible by the occurrence of co-infection of two viral swarms with about 1% nucleotide divergence. We found more than 15 recombination events, unequally distributed across eight samples from different animals. The distribution of these events along the FMDV genome was neither uniform nor related to the phylogenetic distribution of recombination breakpoints, suggesting a mismatch between within-host evolutionary pressures and long-term selection for infectivity and transmissibility.

Brito B, Pauszek S J, Hartwig E J, Smoliga G R, Vu L T, Dong P V, Stenfeldt C, Rodriguez L L, King D P, Knowles N J, Bachanek-Bankowska K, Long N T, Dung D H, Arzt J (2018)

A traditional evolutionary history of foot-and-mouth disease viruses in Southeast Asia challenged by analyses of non-structural protein coding sequences

Scientific Reports 8 (1), 6472


Recombination of rapidly evolving RNA-viruses provides an important mechanism for diversification, spread, and emergence of new variants with enhanced fitness. Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) causes an important transboundary disease of livestock that is endemic to most countries in Asia and Africa. Maintenance and spread of FMDV are driven by periods of dominance of specific viral lineages. Current understanding of the molecular epidemiology of FMDV lineages is generally based on the phylogenetic relationship of the capsid-encoding genes, with less attention to the process of recombination and evolution of non-structural proteins. In this study, the putative recombination breakpoints of FMDVs endemic to Southeast Asia were determined using full-open reading frame sequences. Subsequently, the lineages' divergence times of recombination-free genome regions were estimated. These analyses revealed a close relationship between two of the earliest endemic viral lineages that appear unrelated when only considering the phylogeny of their capsid proteins. Contrastingly, one lineage, named O/CATHAY, known for having a particular host predilection (pigs) has evolved independently. Additionally, intra-lineage recombination occurred at different breakpoints compared to the inter-lineage process. These results provide new insights about FMDV recombination patterns and the evolutionary interdependence of FMDV serotypes and lineages.

Sprague W S, Troyer R M, Zheng X, Wood B A, Macmillian M, Carver S, Vande Woude S (2018)

Prior Puma lentivirus infection modifies early immune responses and attenuates feline immunodeficiency virus infection in cats

Viruses 10 (4), 210


We previously showed that cats that were infected with non-pathogenic Puma lentivirus (PLV) and then infected with pathogenic feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) (co-infection with the host adapted/pathogenic virus) had delayed FIV proviral and RNA viral loads in blood, with viral set-points that were lower than cats infected solely with FIV. This difference was associated with global CD4(+) T cell preservation, greater interferon gamma (IFN-γ) mRNA expression, and no cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses in co-infected cats relative to cats with a single FIV infection. In this study, we reinforced previous observations that prior exposure to an apathogenic lentivirus infection can diminish the effects of acute infection with a second, more virulent, viral exposure. In addition, we investigated whether the viral load differences that were observed between PLV/FIV and FIV infected cats were associated with different immunocyte phenotypes and cytokines. We found that the immune landscape at the time of FIV infection influences the infection outcome. The novel findings in this study advance our knowledge about early immune correlates and documents an immune state that is associated with PLV/FIV co-infection that has positive outcomes for lentiviral diseases.


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